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Q: Who is United We Heal?
A. United We Heal is a national campaign that is bringing together behavioral health providers, clients, family members, allies and more in order to bring improvements to the industry.

Q: What is your goal?
A. Addressing America's mental and behavioral health crisis means supporting the behavioral health workers who are working to heal our communities. Much like how a treatment plan is unique, the solutions in each community must match the values and goals of those who live and work there. At the same time, there are broader national trends in the industry that must be addressed:

  • Reasonable caseloads and staffing ratios that allow us to provide the best possible client outcomes.
  • Meaningful development of our skills so we can provide better care.
  • Adequate wages and benefits that reflect our skill, dedication and the importance of our work.
  • Transparency and accountability to ensure behavioral health agencies are putting client health first.
  • A strong and protected voice on the job.

Q: Who do you work with?
A. We work with stakeholders and people impacted by the behavioral health crisis that is happening across our country. From elected officials who set policy to advocacy organizations, to clients and their families, to fellow providers who face their own trauma from this intense work, we are in this together. That is what #UnitedWeHeal is all about.

Q: Who is a behavioral health worker?
A. We are therapists, case managers, peers, support staff and allies, all motivated by a shared mission to help our clients heal. We can be community mental health workers, work in hospitals or residential facilities. 

Q: How do I become more involved?
A. We welcome everyone to join our campaign for a stronger and better behavioral health system. You can connect with us online, on Facebook or on Twitter. At each you will find more information on what we are doing, how to help and how to stay in touch. 

Q: Who is AFSCME?
A. AFSCME is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and a leading sponsor of United We Heal. Representing 1.6 million workers across the country, AFSCME democratic institution focused on improving lives at work and in the community.

Behavioral health professionals make up an important piece of AFSCME's strength across the country. From social workers to addiction and mental health counselors, AFSCME members work in our nation's hospitals, clinics and out-patient services. We can be found at small private practice facilities to large non-profit networks. With more than 50,000 behavioral health professionals and growing, we are coming together as a movement, lifting our voices and the voices of our clients to drive meaningful change.

Q: Why are you trying to unionize behavioral health workers?
A. Quality care for our clients is the top priority for behavioral health workers. However, the workers providing this care throughout the country are facing high rates of burnout and turnover, which in turn hurts the care provided to our community.

Q: Will being in a union take away time from caring for patients?
A. Forming our union is about having a voice at our workplaces. We want to work with providers to preserve and expand critical services, while improving outcomes and quality of care. For instance, by reducing burnout and turnover we will save costs while improving client care. We are at the forefront of combatting the mental health and substance use disorder crisis. Our voices need to be heard to ensure the valuable resources we put into client aren’t wasted.

Q: Shouldn’t we focus on hiring more behavioral health workers instead?
A. We can do both – we aim to expand services while working to improve quality of care by organizing for a voice at work. The fact is that right now the community mental health system is failing us all—workers, clients and communities—and the most vulnerable are paying the price. Addressing and fixing this system, and solving our country's mental and behavioral health crisis, means supporting the behavioral health professionals who are healing our communities. We can’t solve the problem until we fix the system. 

Q: Will a union change the way my employer operates and the special culture we have?
A. Unions ensure behavioral health professionals have a voice at the workplace – a critical voice in the system of care for our clients. Through their union, we are able to establish uniform practices across the industry. Our union is not an outside group, we are our union.